Teaching Arrangement (UG & TPG) for Semester 1

I’m writing to follow up on my July 29 email regarding teaching arrangements for Semester 1 (S1), 2020-21, and to brief you on some related matters.

S1 teaching arrangements

Since the public health situation in Hong Kong is currently improving, we will make a partial return to face-to-face (f2f) teaching from September 22. Based on the information available to us now, this is how we expect S1 to look for most UG and TPG programmes (for exceptions, see the section below):

– Sept 1-21: all courses will be delivered online only.

– Sept 22 – Nov 30: all courses with either ‘f2f’ or ‘mixed’ as the delivery mode (view under ‘course attributes’ in SIS) will provide an f2f option.

– S1 as a whole: all courses will be available online throughout S1, and every student will have the option of completing S1 online. No student will be required to return to campus for f2f classes in S1.

– Final exams: all final exams will take place online.


These are the exceptions to our general guidelines:

– Some courses involve hands-on engagement and will have to be, or will be better if they can be, taken f2f either in whole or in part. Faculties will issue separate guidance to their students about any required hands-on teaching.

– Some exams will be held in-person either because there are special requirements (eg professional programmes), or because all the students taking a course are in Hong Kong and it is safe for them to attend an in-person exam. Again, Faculties will issue separate guidance to their students about this.

Add/drop period

As in Semester 2 earlier this year, we are providing students with a ‘self-enrol’ function on HKU Moodle to allow courses to be audited during the add/drop period. This function will be available only during the add/drop period. Once that period ends, all self-enrolments will be deleted unless the student has formally enrolled in the course through the course registration system.


In 2020-21, students taking online classes are required to turn on their webcams when the teacher asks them to do so. (Virtual backgrounds are of course permissible.) Students with special needs or circumstances may apply to their teachers for exemption on a case-by-case basis. If it is not possible for a teacher and student to reach agreement, the case may be referred to the relevant Associate Dean (Teaching and Learning) or, in the case of Common Core courses, to the Director.

Campus health and hygiene

HKU has devised robust protocols to promote campus health and hygiene (https://covid19.hku.hk/). Everyone coming to campus needs to be aware of and respect these protocols. Throughout S1, the University will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and make any necessary adjustments. Please always stay vigilant and make personal and group health your top priority.

Looking ahead

Both globally and locally, the public health situation remains volatile and unpredictable. In the coming weeks and months, it is quite possible that we will face renewed pandemic challenges. Throughout S1, we will keep the public health situation under close review. Should there be a deterioration, we may need to suspend all f2f teaching at short notice, and switch back to online delivery for all courses. In making your plans for the semester, please bear this in mind.

Best wishes for S1 – Ian
Professor Ian Holliday
Vice-President (Teaching and Learning)
The University of Hong Kong

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